The Union Recorder

Local News

May 15, 2014

Planned development possible on Nelson Road

Developers touting 124-unit community, homeowners opposed

MILLEDGEVILLE — Last week's Milledgeville Planning & Zoning Commission meeting got testy surrounding a proposed planned development off Nelson Road.

Dan Tomlin requested that the 54-acre property at 700 Nelson Road with a special use for townhomes be rezoned planned development for construction of 124-units with 500 bedrooms. The board approved the request 3-2 after long conversation both in favor and in opposition.

Milledgeville City Council will hold a public hearing and vote on the matter at its May 27 regular meeting.

Excerpts of the May 5 meeting minutes cover all points.

Developer Chad Howie, CEO of Atlanta-based Sanctuary Companies Inc., said the company specializes in student housing and active adult retirement communities. He said the company looks for communities located away from the area's core college campus.

“We look for large tracks of property, and we take and create a community inside of that,” Howie said. “It is away from the town and existing neighbors, so it does not impact them. There is a market for this size and style of community.”

The proposed development, Arcadia, is along the Oconee River adjacent to Georgia Military College land.

Howie described a mixture of single-family style units including cottage, duplex-style and townhome. A 12,000-foot clubhouse and 180,000-gallon pool make up an amenity package.

“We hope to finish and open by August 5 of next year.”

The community living developer said he'd like to donate the excess acreage for Phase 3 Oconee River Greenway expansion.

Building a bridge and creating a walkway from Arcadia to the Greenway were discussed. He stated that all Oconee River frontage would go to the Greenway.

Dr. Heather Langston, Oconee River Greenway Authority (ORGA) executive director, said the entity is prepared for Phase 3 expansion.

She said, “we are getting ready to build another mile” of greenway trail and informed citizens the authority has plans in place to build a bridge across Fishing Creek and continue south.

The Nelson Road property's planned entrance comes off Underwood Drive. Howie acknowledged flooding issues and mentioned a secondary entrance for emergency evacuations.

Iva Griffin owns three Underwood Road lots. She said the neighborhood had concerns.

“What happens if it doesn't fill up with students?” Griffin said. “Are we going to take away from other people in our community to fill up this development?”

Ron McAllister said his son currently lives on Nelson and is against the rezone.

“I keep hearing it is zoned for townhouses and if it is such a good deal, why are they not there now?” he asked. “These people come in from out of town. They are going to get their money, and who knows five years from now what is going to happen.”

Alex Hertz with Sanctuary Companies said they really like the area.

“Milledgeville needs growth, and we are here to help provide it,” he said to the P&Z commission.

Tammy Gheesling was born and raised in the neighborhood and said “it has flooded many times.”

“Last year, Underwood flooded three different times,” Gheesling said.

City Council meets in City Hall's Council Chambers the second and fourth Tuesday each month. The next regular meeting with this rezone on the agenda starts at 6:30 p.m.

 

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